The Deadly Chemical in Your Favorite Lipstick

Some beauty companies are being taken to task by watchdog groups for their toxic chemicals like lead and manganese found in lipstick.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began researching lead in lipstick around 2007. They discovered that 61 percent of 33 popular lipstick brands tested positive for lead. An expanded 2010 study by the FDA found lead in over 400 different lipsticks. Researchers at the University of California discovered that lead isn’t the only thing to be wary of. They found toxic metals like aluminium, chromium, and manganese in beauty products.

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Janet Nudelman, director of Program and Policy at the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners said; “Lead contamination in lipstick is a documented problem that can adversely impact the health of women and kids that dip into their mother’s makeup bag. Men are also at risk of exposure from lead acetate in men’s hair dye, like Grecian Formula, and other sources.”

Lead poses health risks to men and women of all ages, but children should be extra careful of products containing lead. “The main problem with lead is that it’s neurotoxin in that is has an effect on the brain,” explains Nneka Leiba, director of Healthy Living Science at EWG. “So it’s especially harmful to younger children because the brain isn’t fully developed.”

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Experts agree that there is no safe level of lead: Low amounts can cause weakness, increases in blood pressure, and anemia; higher exposure can severely damage the brain, kidneys, and other organs—and can lead to death.

Nudelman says: “You can stay safe by shopping smartly, consumers should avoid lipsticks that they know have tested high in lead contamination. They should contact their favorite brands and ask them if they have a policy in place to test their raw materials for lead contamination”.


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